For the past 25 years Burton Hodge has been keeping track of how many times he mows his lawn and the average size of the ears of corn in his garden. Hearing about the Pearson correlation coefficient from a statistician buddy of his, Burton decides to substantiate his suspicion that the more often he mows his lawn, the bigger are the ears of corn. He does so by computing the correlation coefficient. Lo and behold, Burton finds a .93 coefficient of correlation! Elated, he calls his friend the statistician to thank him and announce that next year he will have prize winning ears of corn because he plans to mow his lawn every day. Do you think Burton’s logic is correct? If not, how would you explain to Burton the mistake he is making in his presumption (without eroding his new opinion of statistics)? Suggest what Burton could do next year to make the ears of corn large, and relate this to the Pearson correlation coefficient.
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